17 September 2012

Africa: USAID-Funded Videos Promote Gender Equality

Washington — The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), as part of its continued support of women, girls and families, launched 18 short educational and advocacy videos on September 13 aimed at increasing global awareness and bringing about social change for critical health, and gender equality and empowerment.

The videos are part of the Half the Sky Movement, a multidonor, multimedia platform based on Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's best-selling book, Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. Through the USAID-funded Communication for Change (C-Change) project, managed by the nonprofit human development organization FHI 360, USAID provided support to the Half the Sky Movement which is developed by Show of Force in collaboration with Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and in partnership with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB) and the Independent Television Service (ITVS).

The 18 videos produced by Show of Force were filmed in India, Kenya, Somaliland and Liberia for use by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), governments and other groups that advocate for and work to bring about community-level change on issues such as family planning and reproductive health, maternal and child health, girls' education, women's economic empowerment and stopping sex trafficking and domestic violence. The videos were filmed in partnership with a number of NGOs working in health and development, including Deworm the World, CARE, IRC, Population Council, SEWA, Girl Child Network, Pathfinder International and others that will use these products in their existing programming.

"The most effective way to ensure long-term, sustainable development is to create opportunities for women and girls around the world," said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah. "I am pleased that USAID is a partner on the Half the Sky Movement, supporting the creation of educational and empowerment tools that will help women and girls build better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities."

According to WuDunn, "The challenges facing women and girls around the world need support from all sectors, so USAID's commitment to the issues is critical."

Through C-Change, USAID has also supported the development of three mobile phone games on health and gender equity, which will be launched in October 2012 for use in East Africa and India. These games were produced by Games for Change under the Half the Sky Movement. The centerpiece of the Half the Sky Movement is a four-hour PBS television series filmed in 10 countries, which will premiere on October 1 and October 2.

The Show of Force videos will be distributed through NGO partners in country and will be available online through C-Hub, a global online repository of health and development communication materials, managed by C-Change, as well as through the Half the Sky Movement website. The videos are also available on USAID's website.

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